Broadband-over-power-line pilot under way in Houston

Von Matt Hamblen

IBM and CenterPoint Energy Inc. are working on a pilot project with 220 homes in southwest Houston to explore broadband-over-power-line (BPL) technology uses for consumers and utility companies.

CenterPoint, through its CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric LLC distribution subsidiary, will run the BPL project through August, according to a statement percent from the companies. BPL has the potential to provide fast, reliable Internet service without the need for Digital Subscriber Line or cable wiring. A customer would need a BPL modem to get high-speed Internet service over an existing power line using a computer plugged into an electric outlet in the home.

BPL is already being used in Europe and other parts of the world and is being piloted by utility companies in the U.S. Telecom Trends International Inc. says BPL revenue is expected to grow from US$57 million in 2004 to $4.4 billion in 2011.